White House press shares what they're thankful for ahead of questions

ABC News' powerhouse political team weighs in on reporters' reactions after they are asked to make statements of gratitude before asking questions at today's press briefing
14:24 | 11/20/17

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Transcript for White House press shares what they're thankful for ahead of questions
Hi there and welcome to the breathing room on ABC's Rick Klein joined today by John Parkinson from our our Capitol Hill team and Mary Alice parks from the political team and and we'll have a White House reporter just a few minutes or guys a lot of banks being bandied about a lot of without a lot of Ellis our Huckabee Sanders is thankful about her job at the White House. We did not learn with the president's actual position is on whether Roy Moore should be the next senator from Alabama and now we have what they were told as a final answer. A final answer which is that the people of Alabama should decide where else. And that's really different than what Kellyanne Conway at this morning so there's big questions about who exactly speaks for the president when the president refuses to speak on any given topic. This morning Kelly and said that she thought. The people of Alabama should not be fooled by the democratic candidate essentially saying that they should vote. For the Republican if you're not or stay home so I think that if the president not to speak we have to wonder who speaks for him and it seems like this White House and his advisors all saying different things. And John it did he is now again we were no they're not gonna say on this the president. Was previously supportive of Ryan Moore and says this is come out. That we've heard different things and to review on the White House even mark short on on this thing of course a topless yesterday saying the president didn't believe the accusers he would be down there. In in Alabama so of much a lot of mixed messaging but the bottom line is that you're not gonna get a call for the White House for decks of the race. And it's right you know I think that senate Republicans are still trying to figure out exactly how to deal with this we've heard that Mitch McConnell is working on a memo. To send over to the White House in conjunction with and RSC. To see about how going forward on it and I think that really the president if he's thankful for anything he's going to be thankfully he's going on vacation happy to Don tomorrow Lotto. You know the only public events we really see from on this week we saw this cabinet meeting where he didn't. Touch on the really hot topics today and tomorrow. The public event will be the pardoning of the Turkey so really not too many serious opportunities he had a chance to question all. Laura Collins is leaving it didn't get that question and again today it's clear that the president. Has the question in front of them and I want to get to this notion of thanks a little bit guys but I think we should explain also at this at this moment. It though the White House and this president often shows very little discipline this is discipline by the president to not get involved to not say where he stands and and in some sense. You have to wonder it of the political match nations Kelly I was very honest about that the need for passing taxes. Right I think the reason I'm getting involved says it's it's just totally lose this a lose lose politically for the president. He doesn't want to talk about accusations of sexual assault sexual misconduct. Lot of us know why but also because there sure. Which bush carried it is better tell congress talking about the need to pass tax reform in the idea that a Democrat wouldn't vote with Republicans. Rim Morrison's wild card there's no guarantee he want you there I think right not we have a lot of Republicans here in the White House and on Capitol Hill they're just not sure. What's the worst outcome. And and in you can talk about that other story of the other side of capitol the other party and capital with Al Franken is still holed up we believe that in Washington DC with family. Not counting an accident that's Reitman and here he's the he's being here but hasn't said anything publicly about this a little White House has come out a little bit the to exit its it to the president tweeting. The other day about Al Franken calling him out on it that's a much different political reaction has. Yeah I think part of the reason is it was their reaction because operating. About the statement anyway basically acknowledging. Where she was coming from saint and he never wanted to. It apologizing at without totally admitting but but apologizing on her hurting someone anyway. Apologizing and expressing disappointment and frustration about that picture and the fact that he. Wrote that when he apology and she said land on television that she accepted that apology in some way mitigated the follow up from his colleagues right away. But you're right we're looking at kind of different political realities of these two men and went more facing us and it's as saying basically don't want to. And Al Franken still at this point it's right now there's been calls for an ethics investigation and he says he saw. We're with our society today joining us over the White House in Sicily where thankful for you. You answer that question I think are very well he's. I want I want to ask first about that because I was one of peel back the curtain for a moment here. It's not that people in the rumor people over here don't have things to be thankful for we're not happy to talk about all the things we're thankful for the best not really the purpose of white house press briefing. Now the downstairs Sydor started at all she she knew she was Jewish is trying to defuse some of the tension. And and look back I have for I workers here Sanders every day day in day out I appreciate what she's top trying to do when I think she's genuine in wanting to express her gratitude up there particularly when it comes to law enforcement troops in this country and faith and family net none of us disagree with any that we are all right there with her. We are here to do a job our job is to ask this White House hard questions and to get answers. And so is a diversion and it takes away frankly from the time that we. Have the very limited time that we have to ask questions and there this briefing was a late start today. This White House might quibble with me this may sound patty to be complaining about that but I'll tell you I was not the only reporter. In the briefing room today who was annoyed by the exercise. It it it it takes away from the business that we have to do which is to ask tough questions as journalists. And daddy and here here on all of that Cecilia and then thanks for putting it that way I think very well what. Somehow though the questions that you're asking her not being heard by the president a couple of times though there'd be heard Rick Eileen Harris they all how to contact you about that what's what's been going on behind the scenes. I'm line. Days. The rebate before I think of asking president struck by I am on a mission and and frankly I don't think I'm at a get up on this on because it's an important question that needs to be. Yet answered and asked app for that matter we. Need to know. Of the American public needs to know. Whether president trump believes ruling mores accusers. Whether president trump thinks it is appropriate to have rule in more serve as a sitting senator. In the state of Alabama whether he would be good for this country here in Washington DC. President trump has not directly answered those questions himself there have been me period. Answers from his aides here at the White House none of them directly answering those fell they they have skirted around this issue president trump said on Air Force One. When he was coming back from China that he would address the more the ruling more. Topic when he got home. It has been a week now we have not heard from him directly. I will keep asking these questions I asked him again today during a cabinet meeting about his support at whether he does or not support Roy Morse accusers. He heard the question it was very clear very audible there's video of it and he did not answer that so I asked it again today. You know. In a different way Kellyanne Conway it's counselor to the president was out here right next to me in the Booth next to me. A talking to Fox News this morning. And and said some very controversial comments about Doug Jones Roy Moore's opponent there saying that. He she she sister called a liberal basically. Tellingly the voters of Alabama that they do not want and should not elect. A Democrat so the question I put this White House today is that the position of this White House. That debt rather than have a Democrat serve in the US and it it is better to have a man accused. A sexual misconduct sexual assaulting. Teenagers teenage girls Iraq Sarah Sanders today said I speak for this White House that is not the position of this White House set up from the podium today so little bit of spat over who speaking for whom. Here. And and contradictions along the ways to sell you may get thank you for joining us here get back to it and we'll see you although the later on world news tonight keep asking the questions. I am thankful for you guys that is Ali look at that look at that pride back Cecilia. So doesn't wanna move onto the other thing surprise appearance in the briefing room today we at Rex Tillerson I think those first time there I don't remember seeing him find a particular podium. But out there it to announce new sanctions on that news accident but but newcomer with a new sanctions coming against North Korea but a new listing. And a renewed listing of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism I was struck though John Parkinson by. The fact that it yet basic kind of downplays as a very symbolic move and it's just part of the larger campaign of pressure. Not like they just turned on a new a new switch against them. Yeah that's right you know the. The secretary of state was out there today and he's trying to make appointees. Echoing the president hears applied this maximum pressure to increase the pressure on North Korea. As you mentioned before this is something that was in place till 2008 when George W. Bush. I'm took them off the state sponsor list to worsen today said that that was moved in good faith to proceed with the negotiations with North Korea on the nuclear program. After a decade and hasn't panned out so now it's time to re apply this pressure. And we're already seeing on Capitol Hill that this is being met with praise we have the house foreign affairs chairman Ed Royce today is him this stuff. And I was struck by just a little bit of a window into the detention as those as the sector say the president. Tillerson himself saying I'm calling it peaceful pressure the president called the maximum pressure. That is all in the labeling there video are hanging back diplomacy and the fact is they're running out of options that diplomacy this is once again another. Moon another label. What how clear understanding. About blacks the implications are and what at what point they're just hoping why have these. One of these new terms he label's new sanctions actually. Make something much. We're putting them Melissa bad guys is they're from the fire and fury we really care a couple of months ago. If your call. Want to talk about that other be overseas story the president Twitter food viewed now without that the father of Lavar ball two guys that are pretty outspoken and if you talk about ten acres now yeah big personalities here. But the BBC stimulus. Shoplifting in China. And now that it's our senators saying that was just a rhetorical response they heeded actually mean when he said I would national. Yeah well let's get is have the stream of consciousness president. Who sent tweets exactly what he's thinking I suppose I mean she can say that that's how he thought but it seemed like an honest reaction and handing black people. Do things that they're hoping to get thanks for but. Normally they don't demand at the whole world knows instantly. I think it's it's shock people because traditionally we have president's him. Advocates for American citizens abroad because that's part of the job not a silly because they're expecting. Science of gratitude and once again we have this president who's trying to distinction between people who are actively showing support for him or people who aren't doing at a for the. Guided it raises actually profound questions that you think about it but he is he is very critical summit for not offering thanks this Thanksgiving season. And I think the president's really got a problem to as far as Lou the pop culture's going here we saw him. Earlier in the year when the hold of things going about standing for the National Anthem. And then you know we disinvited the Golden State Warriors to the White House when you step curry Kevin Durant the most popular players in India it. And then LeBron James you know he's with them and the president taken on directly LeBron James nicely with the dollar wildly popular young rookie player his family. W silly teammates and everything like that so I think it's a big problem for the president and you know it's something that as you said. He is your Steve Allen on Twitter as much as the White House hopes that Clinton's comments soldiers. And it's just because this should have been waiting for the president it was arguably. Really successful nice addition to this trip to Asia and it was important to get those guys back home are you are no one would want to see. Young athlete I'm stuck in Chinese and I read this could have been a big win. For this White House and somehow that got muddled in his language and comes across as a little bit. Mr. petty behavior from this. And sure you guys hear from from people on Capitol Hill with his. Allies say just which he tweedle the last fitness on us other talking about. Didn't what's the upside of this they're home they're state everyone's think every American is thankful that they're home now the president's just complaining that he's not getting sufficient excuse from from members of the it back to the president there has shown this incredible patience where. He and discipline I think by not commenting as Cecilia has been there to question him. The president he sought in his body weights to the hands crossed and thank you thank you you know bank I think he really. It's kind of biting his tongue at this point in and eager to speak out you can do it when he wants to any that they keep in mind when you think about him going you know as a wild card in doing unpredictable things he can be disciplined when he actually lost in this case. Not talking about it I think that things dismount. Peeking a funny. Like this makes the silences feel that more money that's right all right guys let's let's bring this one in for a landing on our last briefing room before Thanksgiving as a won't be another. Briefing we are told. The dump or any good health you thank before to cellular accidentally. Well. This is another one of those Dutch questions from a fire. I hope for my view boy. We all know that. And you know as far as links. Went streaking because of that destruction. Didn't necessarily you a lot of new developments foot what sort of things that the president is is right there. Watching all this happened and he's muted effectively. Or else the accident. I think it's Lexus and imagine there was interesting to see on full display. The disagreements about who speaks for the president and who speaks for the White House I think that's something that sent viewers we'll have to continue to ponder Wendy wants these. Surgical guarantee he really question who has the ways the president. That's something that that we ought to stay mindful of the president talking top and we didn't understand he speaks for him. And I think I think to my mind if if you wanna be on the way to step yet to be thankful to this president I think that that thinks that he demands from his people a lot of lot of that in that room today from terra Sanders and I think that's kind of a driving motivating force we look at this tweets and everything else. You better sit next to him if you wanna if you want or formula to have the loyalty go back back and forth. I thought it was time and I am an African I don't know hey we're all we're all thankful we have why don't you and you know an astounding we got into hair and we thank you for watching here in the briefing room again we're going to be. We're we're going to be back after Thanksgiving when the white house press briefing is back but not part of scenarios parks. I'm Rick Klein check us out of the abcnews.com download the ABC news out watch world news tonight with David Muir with much more coverage of this and more. Thanks for Watson we'll system.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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